Upgrading your macOS without forethought could cost you money – Part 2

Installing High Sierra on My Mac

I use a MacBook Pro for my daily computing tasks. A while back, I installed a 1TB solid state drive that I purchased from Other World Computing. When I decided to test the upgrade process, my laptop was running macOS 10.12.5 (Sierra).

In my preparatory research, reports such as Paul Horowitz’s “How to Download a Full macOS High Sierra Installer App” that he posted on osXDaily revealed that many individuals have been disappointed that they ended up downloading an 19 mb stub, rather than the full 5.18 gb installer. The limitation of the mini-installer is that it requires an Internet connection to download the rest of the High Sierra update files, plus, it prevents a single download from being used to install the newest OS onto multiple computers (this can be a real annoyance if you are a consultant that provides technical support for many customers, or live with family members who also own Macs).

The osXDaily report offers a couple of ways for obtaining the 5.18 gb High Sierra installer that can be used repeatedly:

1. The blog author suggested using a third-party tool called the macOS High Sierra patcher from a site called dosdude1.com. As this patch file is not sanctioned by Apple, you assume all the risks if you choose to download and run it on your Mac.

2. On the same osXdaily web page, a reader named Mike said he was able to download the complete installation package by holding down the Shift key when he clicked the download link on the App Store screen. Others, however, said that holding down the Shift key didn’t work for them.

In my investigation of the upgrade issue, I learned that a conventional (non-SDD) hard drive will retain the HFS+ file structure after a High Sierra installation and will not automatically convert to APFS. The latter bit of information gave me an idea that I decided to test.

Once a week, I run SuperDuper to make a bootable clone of my laptop’s system files, applications, and data. I keep a conventional 2.5 inch HDD in a drive enclosure to store my cloned system. I opted to find out what High Sierra installer I would download if I changed my startup disk to my externally connected HDD, rather than the SSD that I normally use. Lo and behold! I received the full 5.18 gb High Sierra installer, rather than the stub! Because the Apple developers have designed the installer to delete itself after the OS is installed, I immediately copied the file onto a couple of backup devices, such as my USB flash drive.

Because APFS is a brand new standard, I recommend taking a precautionary approach at the outset and refrain from converting your Mac’s file system until the compatibility issues are properly understood and workarounds are developed. You will be able to run High Sierra using the older HFS+ file system.

Disabling the Automatic Conversion of SSD’s to APFS

If you are using a MacBook Air or Pro that boots off of an SSD, follow these steps when you begin to install High Sierra.

• Download High Sierra from the App Store.
• When the download finishes, click Quit (you may need to right-click the High Sierra icon in the Dock).
• Open the Terminal application that is located in your Utilities folder.
• Copy and paste this line of text in the Terminal window (to execute, enter the admin password for your Mac):

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app --agreetolicense --converttoapfs NO --nointeraction

• Type A to accept Apple’s legal agreement.
• Press the Enter key.
• Restart your Mac, then answer the installation-related questions that appear.

Following the above steps, I successfully installed High Sierra on my MacBook Pro’s SSD. Including the time needed to download all the updater files, it took me over an hour to install High Sierra and log into my Mac desktop.

Before I began the upgrade process, I had downloaded and installed a free utility called DiskMaker X 7 for High Sierra. I used this software to create a bootable installer that I stored on another flash drive that would enable me to install High Sierra on other Macs without having to repeat the process of logging into the App Store. I then ran Disk Utility to confirm that I had retained HFS+ as my file system. Once I completed those two administrative tasks, I felt I was ready to test High Sierra to determine whether it was acceptable for my use.


Updated Oct 5, 2017

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